Day 3 highlights: The opulence of Topkapi Palace, a trip across the Bosphorus to Asia and a missed photo opportunity.
First on the list for today. Up the hill, past the discarded relics, to join the queue of eager tourists at Topkapi Palace. Home to the rulers of the Ottoman Empire, for around 400 years, it’s one of the most decadent, opulent sites I have ever visited. The Harem buildings in particular, which would have been the main living quarters for the Sultans, their families and concubines, are lavishly decorated with handmade Iznik tiles, intricate paintings and gilding galore. There’s so much, it’s hard to keep track of what you’re seeing. Gateways, courtyards, halls and chambers. The eunuchs quarters. The concubines’ passage and hammam. The Throne room. The Queen Mother’s apartments. The circumcision room! The list goes on and on.
After a brief detour through another bazaar to a small mosque, only to discover it was closed for renovation, we headed to the ferries. Our plan for the afternoon was to visit Kadıköy.
Just a short ferry ride across the Bosphorus and we were in Asia. Interesting, but not quite the ‘different’ experience we thought it might be. In many ways, it actually felt more European than our experiences of the previous few days. On the return journey, we were treated to a wonderful sight. A pod of dolphins jumping and playing in the wake of the ferry. Sadly I wasn’t quick enough to catch it on camera. Thank you to Hannah, my lovely daughter-in-law, for the only evidence we have that we saw them.
For our final evening, we found a cute restaurant terrace with wonderfully quirky decor just around the corner from our apartment. I lovely relaxed end to an amazing few days. I definitely plan to return to take in more of this fascinating city. We just need to make sure to avoid the iced coffee. Something Mr C isn’t going to forget in a hurry!
(Thank you to Hannah Crane-Buck for additional images – They made me pack in a hurry. I forgot to take a battery charger for the camera!)